Catholic Church cover-up
Catholic Church cover-up
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The Archbishop of Melbourne has admitted the Church covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
Denis Hart told Victoria’s parliamentary abuse inquiry that the Church takes full responsibility for its actions, but his contrition provided little comfort for abuse victims and their families.
Hamish Fitzsimmons reports from Melbourne on Archbishop Hart’s long-anticipated appearance.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: Much of the focus of this parliamentary inquiry into abuse by organisations has been on the crimes committed by clergy in the Ballarat region of Central Victoria. But the state’s most senior Catholic was today addressing the situation in the nation’s second largest city.
DENIS HART, ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE: My evidence today will solely refer to the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The inquiry was told that of the 1,748 priests who’ve worked in Victoria, less than four per cent have been sexual offenders – 59 priests according to Archbishop Hart. At the same time, the Archbishop recognises the damage that’s been done to the 300 victims recorded in Melbourne so far
DENIS HART: I acknowledge that our incapacity to see and to react to this situation in a timely way has given rise to the need for this inquiry. I understand that the community is looking for someone to take responsibility for the terrible acts that occurred. I take responsibility.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The head of Melbourne’s Catholics admitted one of his predecessors, Frank Little, who’s now dead, covered up abuse claims and kept no record of them, something Archbishop Hart agreed had been systemic in the past
ANDREA COOTE, ABUSE INQUIRY: Your church systemically covered up paedophile priests knowing full well that that’s what they were.
DENIS HART: I do recognise that and I do accept that.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Archbishop Hart was questioned at length about why it’s taken so long for the Church to act against paedophile priest Father Des Gannon who’s been jailed twice for sex offences against children while working in Melbourne.
GEORGIE CROZIER, ABUSE INQUIRY CHAIRWOMAN: So you’re saying he lost his faculties in 1993, is that correct?
DENIS HART: Yes. That’s right.
GEORGIE CROZIER: And it took till 2011 – 18 years – for you to contact Rome?
DENIS HART: Well, there would be very few who would have been laicized forcibly until the late 2000s, until after 2002. And we were quite determined to get something done about Gannon and we are still determined.
GEORGIE CROZIER: 18 years, 19 years later.
DENIS HART: Well, better late than never.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: As Archbishop Hart was reading his final statement to the inquiry, victims, their families and their supporters staged a dramatic walkout from the committee room where the hearing was being held. For many who’ve had to deal with the Catholic Church over the years over their abuse claims, an apology won’t be enough, and they’re hoping that this inquiry will lead to dramatic change.
ANTHONY FOSTER, ANTI-ABUSE CAMPAIGNER: What we heard today was a continuation of the same theme that we’ve been hearing about out of the Church for at least 15 years. It’s been the same story, the same defences, the same lame arguments from them time and time again. I think this committee’s heard them. I think we will see this committee cut through those defences and we expect great changes.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The inquiry has one more public hearing left and it’s probably the most anticipated. Next Monday the former Archbishop of Melbourne, Cardinal George Pell, who’s now Archbishop of Sydney, will give evidence.
Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.
Posted on May 21, 2013, in Archbishop Denis Hart, Bill Donohue, Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Pell, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, Uncategorized, William A Donohue and tagged Archbishop Denis Hart, Bill Donohue, Cardinal George Pell, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, child abuse, child molestation, child molesters, child rape, child sex abuse, clergy abuse, crimes against children, pedophile, pedophile priests, priest abuse, priest pedophilles, priest rape, priest sex abuse, religion, roman catholic church, roman catholic church sex scandal, roman catholic clergy, roman catholics, The Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, William A Donohue. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.